GBC criticizes legislative ‘raid’ on transportation fund as part of tech tax repeal solution

Greater Baltimore Committee president and CEO Donald C. Fry is urging lawmakers not to “raid” Maryland’s Transportation Trust Fund as part of its action in repealing the sales tax on computer services.

The bill passed by the Senate, SB 46, that would repeal the computer tax includes a provision that would reduce revenue to the Transportation Trust Fund by $50 million per year for the next five years.

While the GBC supports the repeal of the computer services tax, it is opposed to reducing revenue from the transportation fund, Fry said.

Following is a statement issued by Fry to lawmakers:

The Greater Baltimore Committee is adamantly opposed to making a raid on the Transportation Trust Fund to compensate for any revenue losses caused by the repeal of the computer services tax. Such a move would be not only short-sighted but also damaging to Maryland in the long run.

We need to remember that every dollar siphoned from the Transportation Trust Fund adds to the congestion and pollution problems of the state. In the Baltimore area alone, drivers spend almost 60 million hours annually sitting in traffic. This wastes 40 million gallons of fuel each year, raising the total cost of congestion to more than $1 billion a year. For a state that has articulated its vision of becoming increasingly environmentally sensitive, making a decision that would directly increase congestion is totally inconsistent.

The Transportation Trust Fund is not the state’s cookie jar where we store our extra cash. It is a dedicated fund with a dedicated purpose, and shoring up the general fund is not it.

The Greater Baltimore Committee worked to repeal the computer services tax and has supported numerous proposals to address the repeal, but this solution is not sound public policy.

Previous administrations have been criticized for taking funds from the Transportation Trust Fund and other dedicated sources. We do not see why this posture has changed. The legislature short-changed the state of Maryland during the special session by failing to adequately fund the Transportation Trust Fund to begin with and now it is turning again to dip into this same fund.

This is poor policy and poor planning with a guaranteed poor outcome. It is inappropriate and the business community can not support it.

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